A member of our family was bearing the weight of a heavy decision without asking for our input. Not that anything we might have said would have made any a difference in the outcome, but still, Sport Chalet and La Cañada have been coupled since 1959 when Norbert and Irene Olberz purchased an existing Foothill Boulevard store and launched their own unique retail business that early on became the go-to place for all items related to skiing. One might have thought that, after all these years, a little chat over the community dinner table might have clued us in to this week’s turn of events.

The 1950s was a boom time in this town, with post-war housing developments sprouting where there once stood orchards, vineyards and even a squab farm that delivered its delicacies to faraway clients. The crush of newcomers meant there was a need for more schools and churches. La Cañada could clearly support more businesses, too, so the boulevard became lined with additional markets, banks, dry cleaners, diners, nurseries — you name it. Most of the town’s intersections were dominated by gas stations back in those days. La Cañadans may have slept in town, but once the sun rose they were on the move, driving to the metropolis for work and to the mountains for recreation.

Norbert Olberz saw the potential here. The German immigrant, who passed away three years ago this month, once told us that although he’d tried his hands at a few odd occupations after arriving in America, he had no interest in them. The shop for sale in La Cañada appealed to the young entrepreneur. Of course there was no guarantee he’d make any money. In fact, apparently there was at least one who doubted success would follow. A longtime family friend of ours posted a note to me on Facebook Wednesday recalling that when Olberz got his hands on the sporting goods store her father, apparently skeptical it could become a profitable business, predicted he’d never make it. Ha!

Well, perhaps there were also people who doubted La Cañada would amount to much. But it’s doing pretty well today, especially since it gained cityhood in 1976 and locals finally had a real say in its destiny. The respective spurts of growth between it and Sport Chalet have been intertwined. Sure, there have been a few spats between the city and the retailer over the years, but we thought those had all been ironed out and things were humming along OK in the Town Center, which is very nearly at the city’s heart, or at least where the major arteries flow.

Yes, we knew that the Olberz family’s La Cañada Properties had sold off the Town Center in 2011, and that Norbert and Irene’s son Eric had stepped down from the Sport Chalet board of directors last fall. New avenues were sought to help keep the retail chain relevant and thriving. The signs were all there that a sale was very likely. But still, we were caught by surprise when we learned the offer of a Connecticut suitor with deep pockets had been accepted in recent days.

Although we La Cañadans may feel slightly miffed to have been kept in the dark, we hope the love hasn’t died completely and that Sport Chalet will thrive under its new ownership. Who knows? Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful new relationship — between La Cañada Flintridge and the knight otherwise known as Vestis Retail Group LLC.

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CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. Email her at carol.cormaci@latimes.com.